4 Nov 2017

Tonga too good for Samoa in Pacific clash

9:44 pm on 4 November 2017

A star-studded Tongan team has powered to a 32-18 victory over Samoa in a fast and physical Rugby League World Cup clash in Hamilton on Saturday night.

Tonga's Michael Jennings celebrates a try.

Tonga's Michael Jennings celebrates a try. Photo: Photosport

In a contest played in front of a raucous crowd of red and blue at Waikato Stadium, Tonga simply proved too classy for their Pacific Island rivals.

Tonga led 14-6 at halftime and scored five tries to Samoa's three - star centre Michael Jennings bagging a double.

After what were predictably physical opening exchanges, Tonga took the lead in the ninth minute when Jennings dotted down for the opening try of the night.

Samoa needed just seven minutes to level the scores at 6-6 as hooker Jazz Tevaga burrowed his way over.

Tonga reclaimed the lead when Sio Siua Taukeiaho kicked a penalty as the half-hour mark approached and just a couple of minutes later Jennings picked up his second try to extend his team's advantage to eight points at the halftime break.

With their increasingly vocal fans cheering them on, Tonga needed just 11 minutes following the resumption to extend their lead yet again, Peni Terepo getting his name on the scoresheet.

Tonga's fourth try to Ben Murdoch-Masila as the match entered its final quarter all-but sealed the result.

There was late hope for Samoa when Tim Lafai scored with 15 minutes to play, and went in again with seven minutes on the clock to close the gap to eight.

But there was to be no great comeback, Tongan second-rower Manu Ma'u bursting through a gap and dotting down in the 76th minute to put the final nail in the coffin.

Tonga now prepare for a huge clash with New Zealand next weekend, with Samoa completing pool play against Scotland.

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